Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Information and Communications the following Question by Private Notice.
(a) Could the Minister confirm that the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) has a weak financial base and is consequently unable to remit employee statutory deductions, including pension, VAT and PAYE?
(b) Could the Minister explain the circumstances under which the Corporation invested Kshs400 million in K24 TV and Ghetto Radio, and clarify whether he approved the investment?
(c) Could the Minister table a list of the Corporation's news producers, TV news reporters, artists, newscasters and managers, indicating their respective qualifications, home districts and salaries?
(d) What steps is the Minister taking to rectify the anomalies and to ensure that the public corporation is run professionally and prudently?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) Yes, I confirm that the KBC has a weak financial base. This is because the KBC undertook Radio Medium Wave (MW) Modernization Project that was funded by a Japanese Loan in 1989, under guarantee by the Government of Kenya. Owing to financial constraints, the KBC was unable to repay the loan. The Treasury was approached and requested to repay the loan on behalf of the KBC. The Treasury started repaying the loan in 1992 under the terms of treating the repayment amount as a loan to the KBC to be repaid back with annual interest.
As of December 2008, the KBC owes the Treasury roughly Kshs19 billion. Other outstanding debts are medical scheme, VAT, PAYE, KBC Pension Scheme and supplies of foreign programmes which are at Kshs968,500,000.
(b) The KBC has not made any actual monetary investment in K24 TV and Ghetto Radio. The KBC had two idle broadcasting frequencies and wanted to counter competition and generate additional revenue. Since the KBC did not have funds, they got a proposal from Regional Reach Ltd. who gave a goodwill of Kshs10 million. This investment was approved by the KBC Board of Directors as required.
Ghetto Radio targets young adults and is run by Radio Netherlands and Sarakasi Trust of Kenya which are non-profit organizations. Other joint ventures for the KBC are with Multichoice
4054 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 Africa (DSTV).
(c) I want to table this list. Attached are schedules of senior managers of the KBC, staff in Television Programmes Department, staff in News Department and artists, showing their respective qualifications, home districts and salaries.
(d) The KBC management is working in collaboration with the Ministry to improve efficiency and increase the revenue base. In the 2006/2007 Financial Year, the KBC was ranked among the best performing parastatals at position eight overall. Annual revenue has grown from Kshs625 million in the 2004/2005 Financial Year, to Kshs971 million during the 2007/2008 Financial Year.
The Ministry intends to work hand in hand with the KBC to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting and achieve transformation from medium wave to FM transmission.
The KBC is appealing to the Government to take over repayment of the Japanese (OECF) Loan without seeking any future refund from the KBC; and, grant the KBC financial bail-out to settle all outstanding debts and to fully fund the public broadcasting budget of about Kshs1 billion per year consistently on an annual basis, so that the KBC can meet its broadcasting mandate.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. While I appreciate the answer given by the Assistant Minister, I have this question to put across. He tried to justify the financial performance of the KBC by saying that it is entirely attributed to a modernization project. However, if you look at the auditor's report on the KBC, of which I have a copy--- I can table it here. There are many decisions that the KBC is making which are resulting into unnecessary expenses.
The KBC, for example, has been sponsoring golf tournaments across the country which have no direct bearing on their performance or activities. One such recent case is the Nyeri Golf Tournament, which was sponsored and attended by the Minister. This is completely unnecessary. Secondly, the KBC invested---
Order, hon. Mbadi! I have allowed you so much indulgence to lay the background for your question but, surely, you must come quickly to your question. You have already used two minutes laying the background. Obviously, this cannot be permissible. Could you, please, ask your question now?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, thank you, very much for that indulgence. Is the Assistant Minister sure that the performance of the KBC is not as a result of poor management by the Executive? I have given an example of sponsoring golf tournaments. The KBC is entering into a partnership with Regional Reach Ltd. They are giving the KBC a loan with high interest rates instead of injecting capital.
Mr. Mbadi, even if you want to give examples, could you quickly run through them? Do not be deemed to debate and give more information than is necessary.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the examples are so many that I feel that if I read all of them that would take long.
Very well! The question is heard! Mr. Assistant Minister, could you, please, respond?
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The information I have is that all expenditures that the KBC incurs, like the ones he has quoted, are approved by the Board of Directors of the December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4055 KBC. I want to agree with the hon. Member that all is not well at the KBC. From the time this Question was filed, I have done a lot of consultations. I have a lot of information from different sources, even from the KBC itself, members of staff and from hon. Members who are here. I want to agree that all is not well. There is a problem that must be rectified. I want to ask the indulgence of the House to allow us, as the parent Ministry, to look into all these issues collectively. I could even undertake to report back to the House, our findings. I also want to encourage the Departmental Committee on Energy, Communications and Public Works to look into the issues going on at the KBC.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, you have heard an admission from the Assistant Minister, himself, that all is not well. Indeed, it is not well because even the answer he has given is incorrect. In the list of the senior managers which he has laid on the Table, at No.35, he has given under, newsroom, one Tony Gachukia who left two years ago and No.41, Peter Oyier who was dealing with sports and left a while ago. These are people who left a long time ago yet, there are others like Wangari Kanyoro, Nicholas Kigondu and Waitere who were employed recently, but are not on this list. How authentic is this list? Now that he has admitted that all is not well, and that he is being misled by the KBC, would I be in order, to table this list with the new names, so that he can get more time to verify the information he has been given, so that he can bring to the House an appropriate answer?
You may table the list! The Assistant Minister will decide whether or not he requires more time. If he is able to deal with the matter now, then he will.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have given an undertaking to the House that even we, as a Ministry, reckon that there is a problem that has to be rectified. I have given an undertaking to this House that we will dig into these issues. I have also given an undertaking that I will report back to this House, the findings of our investigations. I have also gone further to encourage the Departmental Committee concerned to do their bit.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. My question has not been answered. I was very clear on the number of employees who are appearing on this list. You have just directed that he looks at it. The question was whether he needs more time to go and verify the information.
Mr. Assistant Minister, would you respond indicating whether or not you were aware of the persons named as recently employed? Are they actually employed by the KBC?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is information which I have to verify as the hon. Member said, otherwise, the list I was given is the one I laid on the Table. As I said, this is part of the information we want as we investigate the KBC as a Ministry.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The Assistant Minister is asking this House to take action against the KBC. Is he in order to ask this House to do the Ministerial job which he is supposed to do?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if you heard me clearly, I never asked this House to take action against the KBC. I said that the Departmental Committee on Energy, Communications and Public Works is charged with the oversight responsibility over state corporations under my Ministry. I said that the Committee is at liberty to conduct parallel investigations as we conduct ours at the Ministry and then we can look at the both reports.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my last question would just be to reinforce what the Assistant Minister has requested the House to do, which is to give him time to go and probe the activities of this corporation. I would have asked so many questions. For example, the KBC is over-paying staff as shown in the audit report. Could he conduct a thorough probe into the activities of the KBC?
4056 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008
Mr. Assistant Minister, you have indicated that all is not well at the KBC. Could you be so kind as to indicate to the House what remedial measures you are putting in place in the short-term, medium-term and long-term to remedy the situation?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will go by what I said initially; about forming a Ministerial committee. I will do this before the close of the year. I promise that I will take action as soon as we get a report from this particular committee.
In those circumstances, we will defer this Question for you to file a report in the House in the second week of the Third Session of this Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I oblige.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Labour the following Question by Private Notice.
(a) What reasons do M/s Wilderness Lodges Ltd. have to require their employees' spouses to visit them only for two weeks and only after a two-weeks written notice to the management and to disallow children from visiting their parents who are employed at Samburu Lodge?
(b) What steps is the Minister taking against the firm, in view of this violation of the workers' rights, to ensure the same is stopped forthwith?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, first, I want to apologise because, yesterday, I could not respond to this Question. I really apologise for that.
I beg to reply.
(a) Samburu Lodge is located within the Samburu National Reserve and is 40 kilometres away from the main road. The national reserve is inhabited by wildlife in their natural habitat. Movement of persons within the reserve is, therefore, restricted for reasons of safety and security. There is no electric fence from the riverside and the river is inhabited by crocodiles. In the above circumstances, visits of spouses and children are regulated.
(b) There is no violation of workers' rights as the arrangement for visits is in place for the safety and the security of the workers.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have a copy of the rules by Wilderness Lodges Limited to show the draconian rules that Kenyans are being subjected to. I would like to table it here.
The answer given by the Minister is not only misleading, but also disturbing. Samburu Lodge is not the only lodge in that area. If it is a question of insecurity because of wildlife, then that is within the mandate of the Kenya Wildlife Service. What is the point of subjecting the employees' relatives to these conditions? If it is an issue of security, why can the visitors not be subjected to security checks at the gate?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, let us understand the fact that the issue of security is to avoid injuries. If the employees take their children to the park, they roam around and they get hurt, then this is bad for their families. This restriction is not only for the parks. This is being practised even by the United Nations (UN) in places like Lokichoggio and Dadaab where the employees are not allowed to go in with their families. The management caters for the employees' housing allowance.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. There are several other lodges in the December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4057 area. However, none of them is subjecting its employees' relatives to the kind of conditions that are being applied by the Wilderness Lodges. Why is this particular lodge putting such conditions? The Samburu Lodge has been there, since the colonial period. There has never been such conditions. The Minister has not responded to my question.
Mr. Minister, the Member is complaining that you have not answered his question. He is asking why this lodge should be an exception!
Especially under the new management!
Order, Mr. Letimalo!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think this is specific to this lodge. This is being guided by the collective bargaining agreement. This is what they agreed and signed. So, it is within the agreement that the lodge is applying these rules.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am not convinced by the Minister's argument. This is not a new park. This lodge was not established just the other day. Before this management came in, workers were allowed to go into the park with their families. It is the new management that has introduced these new rules. What informed this decision? Were animals imported into this park so recently, that it warranted this insecurity issue for children and spouses? What informed this? What trend is there?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is in avoidance of injuries and security reasons. What was agreed between the workers and the management was put down. It was in the collective bargaining agreement. It was also seen that to allow children into the park where are no schools will not be useful to the families. So, it was agreed that the workers should be paid some house allowance and be housed outside the park for security reasons.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. The Minister has not answered by question. If there is an insecurity issue, there has to be a trend that must have informed the decision that it is dangerous to take children to the park. How many children have died in the park since Independence from wildlife-related injuries?
Dr. Nuh, among other things, the Minister has said that the employees have voluntarily entered into a contract with the lodge. So, they have accepted those terms of employment. In those circumstances, the answer given by the Minister, in the opinion of the Chair, is satisfactory.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Minister has claimed that there is no human rights violation. Looking at the rules, the spouses of the employees have been given limited time between 15th December, 2008, and 15 January, 2009---
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Against the Minister!
Out of order!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, for protecting me. The time for the spouses visits have been restricted. Although the workers might have signed a contract, after all, they are only looking for money. Is he convinced that separation of families is allowed in this country?
Could the Minister revoke this order and ensure that the Samburu Lodges' decision is in agreement with the labour laws of this country?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I sympathise with this case. I know that there are parks which have no restrictions. But this particular lodge has these restrictions because of the reasons that I have given, for example, the river is infested by crocodiles and they have not fenced the area. Maybe I could visit this lodge and look at the collective bargaining agreement. The workers agreed to these rules. I can look at the rules and see whether we can agree on some terms amongst the two parties.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, now that the Minister has promised to visit the lodge to
4058 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 assess the situation and probably reverse the orders, could he give us the actual date when he will be visiting, so that I can accompany him?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this will be done sometime in January next year.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Order, Mr. Letimalo! Be careful! You may enjoy the displeasure of being disciplined just before Christmas! CONSTRUCTION OF GUARDRAILS ON MAKUPA CAUSEWAY
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Roads the following Question by Private Notice.
Considering the busy nature of Makupa Causeway and the many fatal accidents thereon, including a recent one where a vehicle plunged into the sea resulting in death of one person, could the Minister urgently build guardrails on the shoulders of the road to ensure its safety to motorists and other road users?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
My Ministry is in the process of installing light concrete guardrails on the section of the said road to enhance safety of motorists and other road users. However, it should be noted that, previously, metal guardrails have been installed along this section of the road, but have been vandalised soon after. The Provincial Roads Engineer, Coast Province, has already started the pre- casting of the light concrete guardrails and they should be in place by early next year. The whole exercise is estimated to cost a total of Kshs8 million. Further, I wish also to note that since the increase of the cost of metal internationally and locally, a lot of rails on all the roads and bridges in Kenya have been vandalised and sold as scrap metal.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to thank the Assistant Minister for that answer. I hope the Provincial Roads Engineer will do the work as promised by the Assistant Minister.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will, indeed, ensure that the work is done as agreed. As I have mentioned, work is already in progress.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, part of the reason there is a high number of accidents on Makupa Causeway is because of the traffic jams and congestion on this causeway, which is the only outlet into the mainland. What plans does the Assistant Minister have to create an alternative route that will approach the Port through Port Rizt and the southern mainland?
You will recognise that, that is definitely a very different Question from the Question that has been asked. Nevertheless, we are looking at ways of decongesting this section of the road. Before long, my Ministry will be coming up with a Blue Print to open up other ways to decongest this section of the road.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, given the seriousness of the accidents on this road, could the Assistant Minister give us a timeframe within which this work will be done?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have already indicated that the guardrails have previously been made of metal. We have realised that metal is vandalised because it is expensive in the market. Therefore, we have decided to use pre-cast concrete. We are already doing the pre- casting in a different site and we will transfer it to the road by early next year. This will be complete by late January, 2009.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I sincerely hope, from the Assistant Minister's word, that by early, or mid-January the rails will be in place.
You need not respond! Sheikh Yakub has just expressed a hope! So, leave it like that! December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4059
asked the Attorney-General:-
(a) whether he could explain why the families of the prison warders who perished in a road accident at Ruaraka along Thika Road on 1st December, 1994 have not been fully compensated to date; and,
(b) whether he could indicate when the beneficiaries will be fully compensated.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) Those families of prison warders who perished in a road accident at Ruaraka on 1st December, 1994 and lodged their claims have been compensated through their advocates or directly. If any family has not been compensated, particulars should be supplied and then I will look into it.
(b) Part (a) hereof applies.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the answer given by the Attorney-General, in my opinion, is inadequate, because I believe that this issue has been pending for the last 14 years. The Kenya Government is an honorable Government, and has noticed that some of those people have not been compensated for 14 years. What action has the Attorney-General taken to ensure that they are compensated?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, who are these people? I have said that those who lodged their claims have been paid, and if anyone has not been compensated, let me have their particulars and I will look into it. I just hope that the hon. Member is not being taken for a ride by the advocate, whom I personally prosecuted, were found guilty and fined Kshs800,000 but I appealed and the Court of Appeal gave a four-year jail term. The advocate has now come out of prison and is trying to revisit that issue. I just hope that the hon. Member is not being misled. If he could give me the details of particular families, then I will be able to answer and address the issue appropriately.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, now that the Attorney-General has admitted having paid some money, would it be possible for him to tell us who were the lawyers who were paid, how much they were paid and when?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the families of the deceased persons were represented by one advocate called M/s K.J. Kinyanjui Advocate, who received a cheque from the Kenya Government of Kshs52,170,300. Out of that amount, he paid to the families Kshs3,832,500. I successfully prosecuted him for having stolen the other money. When the matter went before the court, he actually said that he had paid. This is the amount that he had paid. That means that the balance was pocketed by him. We did not want the families to be deprived of what was lawfully due to them; so, we discovered a conspiracy between Mr. K.J. Kinyanjui, another Kinyanjui from the State Law Office, who has since disappeared and is underground, and officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Although they knew that the genuine amount paid totalled to Kshs3,832,500, they conspired and received a cheque of Kshs52,170,300. As I said, I prosecuted Mr. K.J. Kinyanjui, he was found guilty and the Higher court gave him a sentence of four years. He has now come out of prison and is, therefore, very busy trying to have some money back.
The way I discovered this was that this was the amount for deceased persons, which is the subject of this Question, but there was another amount for the injured persons, which is not the subject of this Question. I intercepted the second cheque of Kshs23,439,300, having discovered the fraud that was going on. We have dealt with it and we have paid. As far as the amount paid to families of deceased persons is concerned, that is the way we dealt with it.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am telling the hon. Member to give me the specific names of families
4060 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 who claim that they have not been compensated and we will look into it. As far as we are concerned, and according to records, M/s K.J. Kinyanjui paid them the amount that was due to them legally, although he had received a higher amount which he pocketed and for which I prosecuted him successfully.
Last question, Mr. Kariuki!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in my opinion, the answer given by the Attorney-General is still not satisfactory. These were the employees of the Government of Kenya and not Mr. Kinyanjui's. They were not consulted when Mr. Kinyanjui---
Order, Mr. Kariuki! What is your question?
What I would like to ask is that, since it was not those people who asked to be represented by Mr. Kinyanjui and the Government of Kenya was a direct employer, could the Government take responsibility and ensure that those people are fully paid?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I have said, our records show that the families have been paid the amounts which they were entitled to, and any amount which Mr. Kinyanjui pocketed, we have dealt with. There were some families which felt that they should get more. For example, Mr. Kinyanjui had agreed with one family that they would be paid Kshs2 million. According to the records that he filed, that family received Kshs250,000. When we went into it properly, that family challenged us in court and the court made the proper assessment, taking into account the degree of dependancy, multipliers and so on, and came to the same figure of Kshs250,000. Another family was also promised by Mr. Kinyanjui Kshs3 million. They also challenged us because, according to the files, they had received Kshs770,000. When the courts assessed the amount which was lawfully due, it came to Kshs770,000. Therefore, I would like to inform the hon. Member that a number of families may go to him saying that they agreed with Mr. Kinyanjui that they would get Kshs2 million or Kshs3 million and that the Government would pay that amount. He should know that the Government will not pay that. The Government will only pay what is lawfully due and according to the records, the Goverment has already paid. If he has any particulars of specific families, let him come to me. We can again go through them and see whether or not they are entitled to more than they have already received.
Very well! Mr. Attorney-General, that answer is very exhaustive.
Mr. Kariuki, you know what to do! You can take up the matter and be more specific in terms of particulars supplied to the Attorney-General.
Next Question by Mr. David Koech!
asked the Minister for Roads:-
(a) whether he is aware that the section of the road between Lemok and Chepterwai in Mosop Constituency, which is a classified road, is damaged and becomes completely impassable during rainy season; and,
(b) what urgent measures he is taking to improve this section of the road.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) Yes, I am aware that the road is damaged in sections totalling about two kilometres and becomes difficult to pass during rainy seasons only in these sections. However, the rest of the road is motorable.
(b) The road is prioritized under the District Roads Committee (DRC) work plans for this Financial Year 2008/2009. A tender for improvement and maintenance of the road has been December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4061 awarded and a contractor is already on site.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the answer given by the Assistant Minister makes the frequent users of this road feel very sad. This road is approximately 35 kilometres long and the DRC has allocated Kshs1.2 million for light grading. It is not true that only two kilometres of this road are damaged. The entire section is completely damaged. If it rains, even tomorrow, the road will be impassable. Could the Assistant Minister tell this House how much he can allocate, as an emergency, to do spot-gravelling especially on section that is seriously damaged which is approximately ten kilometres?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very aware, and also not happy, that members of the public have problems when using this road, especially during the rainy season. My Ministry is as concerned as the hon. Member. For that reason, a tender for improvement of the damaged sections to the tune of about Kshs1.82 million has been awarded to the North Rift Construction Company. I expect the work to be finished in the next two weeks.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would sincerely thank the Assistant Minister for that action. However, given that this road is graded year in, year out, and during the rainy season, it becomes impassable, what plans does the Ministry have to allocate funds for full grading of the entire road?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Ministry is currently looking at all the roads in this country and prioritizing the ones that we need to take urgent measures on in terms of bitumen in the next one to two years. I believe this road will be one of them.
asked the Minister for Roads:-
(a) whether he is aware that the district road offices lack adequate manpower to effectively execute projects within their jurisdiction;
(b) whether he is further aware that the serious understaffing is hampering the implementation of road maintenance projects at district and constituency levels; and,
(c) what he is doing to rectify this situation.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) I am aware that some district roads offices lack adequate manpower to effectively execute projects within their jurisdictions. This has been caused by the freeze on recruitment of staff since 1990, through the Civil Service Reform Programme, and subsequent creation of new districts, as you know.
(b) I am also not aware that the said understaffing has seriously hampered implementation of road maintenance projects at district and constituency levels. However, there are instances where the workload has necessitated enhanced supervisory capacity. This has been met through outsourcing of private supervisory and management capacity and the work is done well.
(c) The Ministry is undergoing reforms and restructuring process which has led to the creation of three road authorities; the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA), the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and the Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA). The new authorities, which are autonomous, will manage the road projects countrywide.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as much as I appreciate that the Assistant Minister has been able to provide the answer, he has handled the Question in a very casual way. First, the answer he has given is a suggested answer. Secondly, the freeze in employment of civil servants only affected the
4062 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 low cadre staff in the Civil Service and not professionals. So that is not true.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, part (b) of the Question was talking about district and constituency roads. I believe what the Assistant Minister means by using private supervisory and management capacity is for major roads and highways. I do not think he can quote any incident in the districts and constituencies where they have used private consultants. Therefore, I maintain that the Question was answered in a very casual way. I think we need a proper answer for this Question. It is very important because it involves spending money on roads---
Order, Mr. Chanzu! You are not asking any question! Is anybody else interested in asking a supplementary question on this?
Nobody is interested! Therefore, we will have to proceed to the next Question.
Hon. Members, note that Question Time has to be Question Time! If you do not ask questions, Ministers have no answers to give!
Mr. Wamalwa, please, proceed!
asked the Minister for Roads in view of insecurity in Mt. Elgon and several attacks made by Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) and other criminal gangs in Gitwamba, Kalaha, Kinyoro and Kissawai farms in Trans Nzoia West District and failure by the security agencies to send timely reinforcements from Kitale Town due to bad roads and rough terrain, resulting in heavy losses in life and property, when the Government is planning to tarmack the D285 Kambimiwa- Koykoy-Kaptama, E320 Koykoy-Gitwamba and D286 Kipsongo-Kinyoro-Kissawai roads in order to improve security the area.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
The Government does not have immediate plans to tarmack Kambimiwa-Koykoy-Kaptama Road (D285) and Koykoy-Gitwamba Road (E320) and Kipsongo-Kinyoro-Kissawai Road (D286). However, the mentioned roads, which are currently gravelled and earth surfaced, are in motorable condition and have continued to be maintained using funds channelled through the District Roads Committee (DRC) by Kenya Roads Board (KRB). In addition, my Ministry is tarmacking Kaptama- Kapsokwony-Sirisia Road which, once completed, will improve the security of Mt. Elgon region.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister, in his answer, appreciates that the tamarcking of Kaptama-Kapsokwony-Sirisia Road will improve security in this region. However, the road he has mentioned in Mt. Elgon, ending at Kaptama, is the same one that extends to Saboti through Koykoy-Gitwamba. In view of the insecurity in the area, why has the Government not tarmacked this road on the Trans Nzoia side?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was limited by the funds available. However, the good news is that, on the said road that is being tarmacked, I am using over Kshs2.6 billion. I think that is appreciable. I will consider the road that the hon. Member wants tarmacked at a later time when funds are available.
Last question, Mr. Wamalwa!
Mr. Assistant Minister, the roads that you have mentioned qualify to be classified as security roads. What is the official policy of the Ministry with regard to security roads?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am aware that those are security roads. Our policy is that security roads must always be maintained so that they can be motorable. Bituminization is not always the option. However, they are always given priority over other roads when funds are December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4063 available for bituminization.
asked the Minister for Water and Irrigation:-
(a) whether he is aware that there is extensive damming of River Omo, the major source of water into Lake Turkana, threatening to dry up the lake; and,
(b) what urgent steps the Government is taking to stop and save the lake.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) Yes, I am aware that the water level of Lake Turkana has gone down substantially due to the damming of River Omo on the Ethiopian side. The river is the main source of water for the Lake.
(b) Lake Turkana is a trans-boundary water resource that is shared between Kenya and Ethiopia. In order to sustainably manage the shared water resource like Lake Turkana Basin, there is need to put in place a co-operative framework as an agreement between Kenya and Ethiopia for the sustainable management of the Lake and the rivers feeding it. To that end, my Ministry, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has initiated the negotiation process with Ethiopia in order to develop a co-operative framework that will enable Kenya and Ethiopia to jointly regulate the use of River Omo that will lead to the releasing of more waters from the dams in River Omo to restore the level of Lake Turkana to a sustainable level. The negotiations are expected not to take longer than three years. While the process, that will soon be concluded, is going on, my Ministry, through the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) has undertaken several intervention measures to address catchment degradation of Rivers Turkwel and Kerio on the Kenyan side, which are also sources of water to Lake Turkana.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the Minister for the answer. But if you remember, this Question has been deferred severally. She is talking about improving catchment areas around the Kerio and Turkwel rivers, which contribute only 10 per cent of the water into Lake Turkana. Our major concern is the damming of River Omo, which contributes about 90 per cent of the water level. Due to the damming of River Omo in Ethiopia, the level of the lake has dropped by over ten metres! That lake has three sites that have been declared world heritage sites. The decrease of water levels will affect both the flora and fauna, and the economic lifestyle of about 500,000 people. It will not only affect the people around Lake Turkana, but also on the other side of Marsabit and Chalbi districts!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we are Members of the Lake Victoria Basin. Egypt cannot allow us, even at the risk of the political repercussions of evicting people from our forests in order to ensure that enough water drains into Lake Victoria, to tamper with the source of River Nile! Why is the Minister allowing herself three years to negotiate with Ethiopia about the flow of River Omo into Lake Turkana? She should follow the example of the Egyptians - declare an act of war with Ethiopia if it messes with River Omo!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, first and foremost, I hope the hon. Member knows that I personally visited the area only last week to see for myself what is happening. It is true that we should put in place a legal framework that will ensure that the trans-boundary water resource that is shared between Kenya and Ethiopia enhances the sustainability of the water resource.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it cannot be done overnight. There are negotiations that need to take place. They are very aware of what has got to be done. In the case of Lake Victoria, we have the Nile
4064 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 Basin Initiative that has been there for a long time. We are also working on that right now to ensure that all the water from our resources within Lake Victoria do not flow to those other countries. In fact, I will soon be bringing that issue to Parliament, so that you can all help me to deal with it.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, could the Minister tell this House what she is doing in her Ministry to ensure that people do not dam rivers haphazardly without getting proper orders from her Ministry? In the countryside, people are putting up dams without consulting the Ministry.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA) is dealing with that. The hon. Member is right. That is happening left, right and centre, and people have just gone wild doing the wrong things. So, I will soon be bringing to this House some law to be passed, so that we can deal with some of those people. In fact, some of the things that are happening are being done by the very same people who should be protecting our water resource areas. For instance, even here in Nairobi, somebody is putting up 20 big maisonettes just next to the river - in fact, on top of the river! That is something of major concern and WRMA is going to do something about that issue.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Lake Turkana is a refuge for very many pastoralists - over 500,000 pastoralists who live in northern Kenya. These are Turkanas, Gabras, Samburus and many others.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the interventions that are happening on the other side of the border with our friendly nation of Ethiopia--- There is a lot of development that is going on in Ethiopia and there is damming of those rivers. What will our Government do to ensure that those projects, at least, are halted until the necessary consultations have been done, so that our people on this side of the border will not suffer as a result of that intervention?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I said earlier, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we are putting in a team that is going to engage the Government of Ethiopia so that we can agree on how we are going to deal with this very, very serious issue. I do really agree that this is a very serious issue. In actual fact, if we do not get water coming from River Omo to Lake Turkana, that lake will surely dry up. We will not be getting fresh water in Lake Turkana. We will be getting very little water that will be coming from other areas with a lot of alkaline!
So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to assure the hon. Member that something is being done.
Last question, Mr. Ethuro!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I really would like to believe and take the assurance by the Minister. But I want the Minister and this House to know that there is a conspiracy between nature and nurture to eliminate the good people of Turkana. When an area is prone to drought, insecurity and, of late now, even the lake that is an alternative economic activity at the height of drought is running the risk of being diminished, how else do you explain that?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, could the Minister confirm to this House that, out of the 1,800 kilowatts to be generated by one of the dams which is in the Juba 3 Project, that the Kenya Government is buying 500 megawatts of electricity, which will be considered in international circles as blood money or blood diamonds? When will she do something to stop the Government of Kenya from benefitting at the economic expense of the citizens?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I really appreciate the concern that the hon. Member is showing, and I hope he can know that I am very concerned. I do not even think he has gone to where I have gone. I am sure he has not been to Todonyang, where I have been and saw for myself. But this conspiracy can only be dealt with right, just to ensure what the Government of Kenya is likely to do is done. If this power is going to be bought by our Government, then we should, first December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4065 and foremost, be the ones to stop it. I am getting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Ethiopia to ensure that this can be stopped, or else see exactly how much water can be retained in the Ethiopian side and how much water we can get on this side. This can be done!
asked the Minister for Water and Irrigation:-
(a) how much funds have been allocated to Northern Water Services Board for the last three years;
(b) whether she could provide a list of the per-constituency allocation of those funds as well as projects funded in the last three years; and,
(c) what steps she will take to ensure equitable allocation of those funds among constituencies.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) A total of Kshs2,564,000,000 has been allocated to the Northern Water Services Board in the last three year as follows: Financial year 2006/2007, Kshs145 million; Financial Year 2007/2008, Kshs631 million and Financial Year 2007/2008, Kshs1,280,000,000. This amount includes donor funding for specific projects within the Northern Water Services Board area of jusrisdiction.
(b) The current Ministerial budget allocation is district based. However, the allocation per constituency in the last three years is as follows. This is fairly long; I do not know whether I should table it or go ahead and read it out.
Please, proceed to table it.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, for part (c), identification of priority projects to be included in the budget is done at the district level and approved by the District Development Committee (DDC). My Ministry will encourage my officers to consult other stakeholders while proposing projects to be implemented, so that we ensure fair and equitable allocation of funds among the constituencies.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank the Minister for the response. I was prompted to ask this Question by issues of equity in allocations. The NWSB covers 23 districts. From the latest information that I have, out of the 23, the top three for this financial allocation are Lagdera, Kshs50 million, Mandera Central, Kshs7 million and Laisamis, Kshs25 million. The bottom three were Mandera West with Kshs5 million, Isiolo, Kshs7 million and Chalbi, my own district, only Kshs8 million. Those allocations should be based on needs assessment in those regions. I want the Minister to tell us the rationale for those allocations, because they are not based on needs assessment.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me assure the hon. Member that I have already given instructions to my officers to go out and map some of those very poor constituencies, one of them being his, so that during the Financial Year 2008/2009, we will consider his constituency. I also want to tell him that we are going to do a huge dam, which he has never had before within his constituency. I am aware of the insecurity in his constituency due to lack of water and other reasons and, therefore, I am addressing that.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I believe that the objective of the NWSB is to provide
4066 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 water to the drought-prone districts covered by the board. If trully that board works in liaison with the DDC in the identification of water projects, on what basis are some districts, or constituencies, getting more allocations than others?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is a very good question. I just want to say that I am aware that, that has happened before. It will not happen again. I have given new instructions on what should be done.
The NWSB covers 23 districts, from Mandera, all the way to Laikipia West, which are found in three provinces; namely, Eastern, Northern Eastern as well as Rift Valley provinces. The Minister has been creating new water boards to enhace service delivery in most of the remote regions. Does the Minister have any plans to create new water boards for the areas of upper eastern, which is a region with a lot of water problems?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, yes, according to the Water Act of 2002, the Minister has powers to create new water boards. So, I will be looking at his region, the different needs and how things were done before and I am sure this will not be difficult to do to ensure that we bring services closer to the people.
asked the Minister for Agriculture:-
(a) whether he was aware that there has been rainfall failure for several successive seasons in Mutomo District; and,
(b) whether he could urgently supply essential seeds to Mutomo farmers before the planting season.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) I am aware that there has been rainfall failure in Mutomo District for the last three planting seasons.
(b) My Ministry provided essential planting seeds to Mutomo farmers during the current planting season, and more seeds could be provided if needed.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is unfortunate beacuse what the Assistant Minister is saying is not true. He also happens to come from the arid region of Ukambani and he knows very well what the Ministry gave people in Mutomo is not sufficient. Could he ensure, because we are expecting other rains in the next three months, that we will get enough seeds so that the people of Mutomo can plant adequately and, therefore, get food and not ask for famine relief?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is true that we did not give enough, and the reason is that we did not have enough to give to every farmer. But in his constituency, we gave more than 5,000 farmers assorted seeds. I can assure him that even for the next season, we are preparing ourselves to give seeds to almost every person in that area, because there is no rain even now.
That Question is properly answered Mr. I. Muoki!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, given that he has said that the seeds he gave were not adequate, could I tell him that in the 1980s, we had a pilot project sponsored by DANIDA under which farmers used to do seed multiplication? This was very successful! Could he consider doing the same? The local farmers can multiply the seeds so that they can get enough of them?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in fact, we have started that and we will continue doing December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4067 it. Also, during that time, we are likely to make a request.
asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government:-
(a) whether he was aware that Kapsoya Secondary School, a project of the Eldoret Municipal funded by the World Bank, stalled more than 17 years ago and is currently a source of danger to students and teachers due to weak structures; and,
(b) what steps he is taking to ensure that the stalled project is revived and completed.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) I am aware that Kapsoya Secondary School project in Eldoret Municipality has stalled. However, the project was fully funded by the council and not the World Bank.
(b) The Ministry has written to the Municipal Council of Eldoret advising them to use the Local Authorities Transfer Fund (LATF) and council revenue to complete the project which has become a potential source of danger to both the students and teachers.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, could the Assistant Minister be interested in some of the communications I have, that seem to imply that the project was a World Bank project which stalled in 1993 after the World Bank had spent Kshs12 million? At that time, the money required was Kshs9.8 million.
I am grateful that they have written to the Municipal Council, but is he satisfied that LATF money can actually be used to complete a building that requires about Kshs40 million?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I reiterate that this was a council project and not a World Bank project. It is the council that has so far paid Kshs12 million to the contractor. The contractor was Ruaha Concrete Company. They have already been paid Kshs12 million. In fact, the council still owes the contractor more than Kshs2.3 million. To complete the project, it is estimated that it requires an additional Kshs27 million.
So, this was a council project which started through political pressure. This is because we have looked at the recommendations of the community at the LATF level. The community has never prioritised this project. However, now that the building is already there and some phases are past three-quarters complete while others are not, we have asked the council to use LATF money and its revenue to complete the project. Our estimate is Kshs27 million. As a Ministry, we have no intention of getting involved in this project, because even the council has never even requested us for assistance. Since the project was started by the council, it should complete it.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, when the NARC Government came to power in 2003, there was a brand new Ministry of National Reconstruction which was supposed to be dealing with such stalled projects. This Ministry was abolished or renamed by 30th June, 2004. The assumption was that they had rehabilitated all the stalled projects. How come that the Ministry can now claim that it cannot force the Municipal Council of Eldoret to complete a project that is necessary and has stalled for so many years?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, indeed, the NARC Government undertook to complete all the stalled projects. But these are the projects that had been started by the Government. To this extent, the NARC Government completed the National Youth Service building at Ruaraka. It is also almost completing the Nyanza Provincial Headquarters and many other projects, including even the
4068 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 houses for Prison officers. However, this was not a Government project. It was a council project and they should carry their cross.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I shudder to hear the Assistant Minister actually make statements; that certain projects do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Government of Kenya, and that, having spent a lot of money on an educational project, the Ministry is abdicating its responsibility.
Is it in order for him to tell us that he does not care about the project because there was political pressure? What is the definition of political pressure?
Very well! The point is made. The Chair is also at a loss when the Assistant Minister says that this was not a Government project but a Local Government's project. Mr. Assistant Minister, is the Local Government not part of the Government?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, indeed, Local Government is part of Government. But this project was not a Central Government project. This was a council project. They started it---
Order, Mr. Assistant Minister! You are a typical lawyer. You are now making a distinction, but at first, you said that it was not a Government project because it was a Local Government project. Now, you are making that distinction that it was not a Central Government project. Is the policy of this Government that it will only complete projects that were started by the Central Government? If that is so, then be categorical and make it clear.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I reiterate that this was a council project. The Central Government does not interfere with the operations of the local authorities. They have never asked for assistance from the Ministry. Since they started the project, the community has never prioritised it during the LATF formulations. They should complete it and we have instructed them to do so.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Is the Assistant Minister in order to continue to consistently and persistently mislead this House by claiming that the Ministry of Local Government is not responsible for Ministries initiated by the local authorities, when the very Ministry is the one that approves their annual budget?
The Assistant Minister may not be in order, but are you in order yourself? You have talked about Ministries and not projects. Which is which?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it could have been a slip of the tongue. I am perfectly in order!
Very well! Mr. Assistant Minister, could you respond?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we must give respect to institutions. The Central Government should not be seen to be interfering in the local operations. As I said, this project was started by the council. There are many others that the council
starts. When they started it, they should have budgeted for it. However, it was not budgeted for. They have been building it using their own resources. So, we have instructed them that since they started this project, they should complete it. Since they have never even asked for assistance from the Ministry of Local Government, they should complete it. They should carry their own cross since they started it, and this should serve as a warning to all the other local authorities. Please, do not start projects which are not budgeted for. If you do so, the Ministry will not come to your assistance.
Last question, Prof. Kamar!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am a bit alarmed. Who supervises county councils and municipal councils, if the Ministry of Local Government is not interested in their projects; is it the Member of Parliament? Who are the "you", because the Assistant Minister is saying, "you should not?" The Ministry takes care of municipal councils and county councils. I hope that he is not referring to the community that is desperate to complete the building. Could he tell us why the same project was not put under the pending projects of the Ministry? December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4069
I will also give the Ministry more evidence that there were communications to the Ministry on the same.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I said, we must give these institutions a certain leeway for them to operate. We should not be seen to be their prefects. Local authorities are entitled to start projects, which this council did. But as I said, they have never even asked us for assistance. We do not normally get involved, unless we are asked for assistance, because we have got other projects that we start when we get a request from the local authority. So, if you want the Ministry of Local Government to start getting involved, the first thing is to request for assistance. We have never received any request for assistance.
Order, Mr. Assistant Minister! That is sufficient!
Hon. Members, that now brings us to the end of Question Time---
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
What is it, Mr. Ruto? It had better be a point of order!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, since the Assistant Minister has not given us a sufficient answer, considering the fact that more evidence will be brought to this House to show that it was, indeed, the World Bank which first gave money to this project, would I be in order to request that this Question be deferred, so that it can receive a full answer next week? It is very important for us to be clear that the Government will not run away from its responsibility. He is setting a precedent for the Government to be running away from projects and throw them back to the communities.
Mr. Ruto, from what has transpired this afternoon, it is the opinion of the Chair that, that Question has been satisfactorily dealt with. Among other things, the Assistant Minister has clearly stated - and has not been challenged - that no request has been made to the Ministry to complete this project, let alone request for funds. So, to my understanding, and to the understanding of any reasonable man or woman, that answer is sufficient.
Hon. Members, you will notice that we have extended Question Time up to beyond 4.00 p.m., this being attributable to the fact that there was an informal meeting this morning, involving all parliamentary parties. We, therefore, could not go through all the Questions as programmed. So, we will defer Questions Nos.503 and 532 to Tuesday afternoon, and Question Nos.217 and 486 to Thursday afternoon. Those Questions will take priority over Questions which may be already schedule to appear on those days.
Hon. Members, we will now take a Ministerial Statement from the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security
Mr. Speaker, Sir, on 3rd December, 2008, Hon. Ekwe Ethuro, Member of Parliament for Turkana Central, rose on a point of order to seek a Ministerial Statement on bandit attacks that occurred on Friday, 28th November, 2008 and Monday, 1st December, 2008, in three villages within his constituency.
On 1st December, 2008, about 300 Pokot tribesmen raided Loringipi Village and killed eight people and seriously injured two others. The persons killed were innocent women, children and the old. Those who were killed are as follows: Josphine Namet Ekadek, a Turkana female adult aged about 35 years; Newate Ngatir, a female minor aged eight years; Aribo Lokeris, a female minor aged six years; Atangi Lorot, a female adult; Awoya Lokwanok, a female minor; Lorot Adone, a female minor; Lonyankwan Akou, a female minor, and John Ayenae, a male minor.
The following persons were also injured during the attacks: Ekaya Chuka, a blind adult woman aged 75 years, and John Ewoi, an adult man aged 75 years. They were all admitted to Lodwar District Hospital.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, during the attack, about 2,000 goats, 70 camels and an unspecified number of donkeys were stolen. The raiders were identified as Kenyan Pokot tribesmen, with a backing of Ugandan Pokot tribesmen. During the attack, police reservists who were herding animals in the neighbourhood, responded and managed to repulse the raiders. The police reservists killed four of the raiders, while others escaped with serious injuries.
After the attack the security forces pursued the raiders, who crossed the border to Uganda. Information has it that the animals are being held by the raiders at Nauti area of Moroto District, Uganda. The Turkana District Security Committee held a cross border meeting with their Ugandan counterparts on 7th December, 2008. The Ugandan officials agreed to confiscate the animals from the raiders and hand them over to the Kenyan Government, together with the attackers.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, on 26th November, 2008, at about 10.00 a.m., a gang of about 50 cattle raiders, also believed to be Pokots, scared away children looking after goats and stole about 3,500 goats. The incident was reported to the police at 12.30 p.m. Vide OB No.4/26/11/08. The raiders were pursued by the police and the local people, who managed to recover 13 of the estimated 3,500 stolen goats.
A mobile security team comprising of regular police, Administration Police and police December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4071 reservists is patrolling the area. Security has also been beefed up.
The cattle stolen during the two incidents are believed to be within Kwotindo and Moroto districts in Uganda. The matter is being followed through the administrators from both countries, who held a meeting on 7th December, 2008. A follow-up meeting is being planned. A date for the same will also be announced soon.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, intelligence collection in the larger Turkana area is hampered by the land terrain and vastness of the district. The Government is, however, in the process of equipping the security agencies with modern telecommunication equipment in order to ease their work in the area.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, while appreciating the Assistant Minister's response, Kenyans have lost their lives. The police can pursue raiders. However, the police do not have the means and the capacity to get to places where raids have taken place, in good time. Police in my constituency are behaving like insurance assessors. They go to the scene after the event has happened. I want to believe that the major role of the police should be to prevent and contain the crime at the time it is committed.
I would like him to clarify to this House when he will beef up the number of policemen based at Loringipi Police Station and ensure that the OCPD, Turkana Central, gets a good police vehicle to be able to reach scenes of crime in good time, and further ensure that the Administration Police, who went there a day after the incident, can be availed with a lorry to ensure that they can deploy their men to reinforce other security agents?
Mr. Ethuro, you have sought three clarifications, and that is good enough!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is a sad affair. Previously, cattle rustling was being undertaken as a sporting activity. However, over the years, it graduated to a commercial activity. On the same vein, it graduated to a cartel. We are gathering information which shows that some of the people who are behind cattle rustling live in Nairobi.
Having said that, I would like to assure this House that cattle rustling business will be a thing of the past. We have already ordered for some telecommunication equipment, which will be installed within areas which are prone to cattle rustling. We will also beef up security within our international borders. As I speak, we have already released four new Land Rover vehicles for patrol within those areas. Even Mr. Ethuro can vouch for that; he is aware. We will beef up security in that area. Mr. Speaker, Sir, when we released the four Land Rover vehicles, we did so, with security personnel. In addition, we are going to release police choppers to patrol that area, because the land terrain is equally bad. It is good enough that we have already identified the places where the stolen animals are being held.
Jambo la Nidhamu, Bw. Spika. Nimesikitishwa na matamshi ya Waziri Msaidizi. Amesema kwamba wizi wa ng'ombe utakuwa jambo la zamani. Kwa sasa, Serikali imetuma kikosi cha maafisa wa usalama kufanya operesheni katika kaskazi ya Bonde la Ufa. Hata hivyo, mpaka leo, hatujawaona maafisa wa usalama wakiwasaka majambazi. Tumeelezwa kuwa operesheni inaendelea, ilhali juzi tu, ng'ombe zaidi ya kumi waliibwa kutoka Cherang'any na kuchukuliwa mahali kwingine. Ningependa Waziri Msaidizi afafanue jambo hili. Tumeelezwa kuwa kule Trans Nzoia, maafisa wa usalama wamepelekwa Lodwar---
Order, Mr. Kutuny! Hon. Members, you were given an opportunity on this Ministerial Statement to seek clarifications. Mr. Kutuny, you did not seek any, but you are now seeking clarifications out of time. You ought to have stood before I asked the Minister to respond to clarifications which were sought. So, you are out of order. Umekosa nidhamu!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, since you have made a ruling on that, I will not respond to that because he knows that there is an operation going on in his constituency.
4072 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008
However, it is good enough that we have identified where these livestock are. The Kenyan intelligence team is negotiating with their Ugandan counterparts and we are going to recover the animals. In fact, we had even agreed that even the carcasses will be brought back to Kenya!
Very well! We will take two Ministerial Statements from the Assistant Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry for Local Government. You asked for five minutes and so, you must stick to those five minutes.
Yes, indeed, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I am a man of honour. Allow me to start with the one which was requested by Mr. Mututho. PAYMENT OF CESS TO NAIVASHA MUNICIPAL COUNCIL
Mr. Speaker, Sir, all local authorities in the country are empowered by Cap.265, Section 48, to impose fees and charges for any service or facility provided. The Municipal Council of Naivasha can also exercise the same provision in generating revenue which is needed in rendering services to the residents. Hoteliers have resisted to pay bed occupancy cess. Municipal councils are capable of suing and being sued. The Municipal Council of Naivasha can invoke the above provision and sue the hoteliers to pay the bed occupancy cess.
With regard to cess by KenGen, it is worthy to note that KenGen cannot be levied cess by the Council. KenGen's operations in Ol Karia are governed and licensed by the Ministry of Energy in compliance with the Geothermal Resources Act, Cap.12 of 1982. The company pays royalty accordingly, but to the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Geothermal steam has the lowest gaseous components compared to thermal plants such as coal plants and natural gas plants. This explains the reason for geothermal energy options all over the world. Therefore, KenGen Geothermal Plants are not emitting gases above the World Health Organisation's (WHO's) and National Environmental Management Authority's (NEMA's) accepted levels that could be injurious to the environment and the population.
Indeed, this has been verified severally by NEMA through several environmental impact assessments (EIA) and audit reports which are available to the public for perusal. Compensation, therefore, is not available at the level below the accepted occupational health safety records.
With regard to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), farmers pay a certain reduction of 1 per cent of the value of the crop delivered to the NCPB. The stocks in Naivasha Depot are normally transferred from other maize-producing regions to be availed to the customers around Naivasha. Since cess would already have been paid on this stock at the point of purchase, no further cess can be levied on them at the point of sales in Naivasha because this would amount to double levying.
Concerning cess by flower firms, it is true that flower firms have not been paying the flower cess. Therefore, no funds can be provided for water and road infrastructure to Kabati, Kihoto, Marigocho and the surrounding areas from such an account. The Council can, however, seek legal redress to compel the flower farmers to pay the cess.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, concerning the storm water drainage, the Ministry is aware of the frequent destructive floods occurring in the municipality. It has completed some feasibility studies on the need for the development of a storm water drainage infrastructure in town. The primary designs are complete. The implementation of the project will be carried in the year 2009. My Ministry is committed to serving the people of Naivasha and will make every possible effort to safeguard their interests.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Naivasha, and the Acting Minister for Finance should hear December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4073 this, contributes 2.3 per cent of the country's GDP, which is enough to run all CDF programmes. The population in Naivasha mainly constitutes people who work in the flower firms, KenGen and KWS which do not pay any cess. The situation is so desperate that they have resorted---
Seek your clarification!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, how much does KWS collect from KenGen? Could we get that from KenGen?
Is there anybody else who would like to seek clarification on this issue of Naivasha?
Proceed, Mr. Githae!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I said that you cannot get any cess from KenGen. This is because KenGen is licensed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. That is where the Ol Karia Geothermal Plant is situated. However, I have given the hon. Member options. I said that there are so many hotels in Naivasha. I would advise the hon. Member to go for the hotels and get the bed occupancy cess. That is being done in Mombasa and I do not know why it cannot be done in Naivasha. I also talked about getting cess from flower firms. There are so many flower firms in Naivasha and they must pay the cess. He can seek assistance so that these firms are levied cess.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, however, on the NCPB, you cannot levy cess on them. This is because Naivasha is not a maize-producing region. The maize you find in Naivasha has come from elsewhere and cess has already been paid at the point of purchase. So, I would advise him to go for those two options and Naivasha Municipal Council will be in a position to deliver services. I know that the main problem was the abolition of Graduated Personal Tax and also, the service charge. If there was service charge, then all the workers in the flower firms and hotels would be paying some money. This was, however, abolished by the Government. So, the Municipal Council of Naivasha should go for the two options.
On what matter is your next Ministerial Statement? First, indicate the subject.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the next Ministerial Statement was sought by Mr. Mbau on the Kshs9 billion debt owed by Nairobi City Council and the tug of war between the same council and Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company.
The nature of that matter is that it can wait. You will deliver that Ministerial Statement on Tuesday at 2.30 p.m.
Much obliged, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Hon. Members, before we proceed to the next Order, I have the following Communication: As you are aware, the National Assembly of Kenya is an active member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, popularly known as the CPA. I am happy to note that many new Members of the House enroled to be Members of the CPA Kenya branch and, in fact, quite a number of you have participated in CPA activities in the course of this year. It is in this regard that I wish to draw your attention to the fact that during the 53rd CPA Plenary Conference in New Delhi, India, the CPA, Kenya Branch, bid and was given the honour to host the 56th CPA
4074 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 Plenary Conference which is scheduled to take place in Nairobi in the month of September 2010. This was further confirmed at the 54th CPA Plenary Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this year where your Speaker was elected the Vice-President of the CPA.
The 56th CPA Plenary Conference will be held next year in Tanzania. To assist in guiding and co-ordinating the arrangement for this important conference, I have constituted a National Organising Committee comprising the following 12 Members: Hon. David Musila, MP - Chairman Hon. David Were, MP Hon. Amina Abdalla, MP Hon. Raphael Letimalo, MP Hon. Olago Aluoch, MP Hon. Zakayo Cheruiyot, MP Hon. Jeremiah Kioni, MP Hon. Prof. Margaret Kamar, MP Hon. Gedion Mungaro, MP Hon. Gedion Konchella, MP Hon. Lee Kinyanjui MP and
The Clerk of the National Assembly to be Secretary to the Committee.
This is, therefore, to task the Committee to commence the necessary arrangements for the conference to make the event an astounding success that the CPA Kenya branch is reputed for in organising similar events in the past.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:-
THAT, Clause 2 be amended by inserting the following new definition in its appropriate alphabetical sequence-
"person" means a natural person, a company or association or body of persons corporate or unincorporated; December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4075
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I welcome the amendment.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:-
THAT Clause 6 be amended in Subclause (4), in the definition of "crimes against humanity" by inserting the words "and includes an act defined as a crime against humanity in conventional international law or customary international law that is not otherwise dealt with in the Rome statute or in this Act" immediately after the words "the Rome Statute".
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, this essentially expands the definition of "crimes against humanity" to include "acts defined as crimes against humanity in international conventional law or customary law that is not otherwise dealt with in the Rome statute or in this Act" immediately after the words "the Rome Statute".
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I welcome the amendment.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Departmental Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs on the way they have really looked at this Bill and come up with this amended Bill. In fact, we need to be very thankful to them for this---
Order, hon. Githae! This is not the time for giving thanks or any statement.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I am supporting the amendment.
Just say as much. That was how the Attorney-General did.
4076 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:-
THAT Clause 7 be amended in Subclause (1), by-
(a) inserting a new paragraph immediately after paragraph (e) as follows-
(f) Article 27 (which relates to irrelevance of official capacity);
(b) renumbering paragraphs (f) to (k) as (g) to (l) respectively.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, this is a controversial proposal and I wish to point out why. That Article deals with the irrelevance of official capacity as far as international crimes are concerned. Our Constitution in Section 14 states:-
"No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President while he holds office or against any person while he is exercising the functions of the Office of the President".
Essentially what Article 27 says is that as far as genocide or international crimes or crimes against humanity are concerned, the function that the accused is holding is irrelevant. Now, on the face of it, what the amendment is proposing might look unconstitutional but we wish to persuade the House that the spirit of our Constitution does not envisage a situation where the President or any high ranking officer of this Government is guilty of genocide or crimes against humanity and is being shielded therefrom. Moreover, the Rome Statute itself, which we have already accepted as part of our law states clearly that, that is irrelevant.
So, as far as the international law is concerned, irrespective of what we say in our Constitution, provided there is a situation of genocide, that defence of non-liability will not stand. So, our proposal is to persuade that the spirit of our Constitution allows for this amendment.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I stand to oppose this amendment. I oppose it because it is your duty as Chairman, Speaker and all Members of Parliament to ensure that the laws we pass here are in accordance with the Constitution. As you are aware, the Constitution is the supreme law and any Act of Parliament that is contrary to any provision in the Constitution--- Section 3 of the Constitution is very clear. That Act of Parliament is null and avoid to the extent of inconsistency. What we are debating here is not a constitutional amendment. What we are trying to do here is an Act of Parliament. In fact, it is an Act of Parliament to domesticate the Rome Statute which establishes the International Criminal Court. In domesticating that Statute, or any statute or treaty, we must be sure that it conforms to our Constitution. Therefore, it is our obligation and duty to oppose this amendment. Maybe, it can be taken care of in the constitutional dispensation. But, as long as we are operating under the current Constitution, I oppose this amendment.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I stand to oppose this proposed amendment. I would give three reasons why, in my view, we should not even entertain this proposed amendment. One, what we are passing here today is an ordinary Act of Parliament. The Constitution is superior to an Act of Parliament. The Constitution is very clear that no criminal or civil suits can be preferred against the President while in office. So, in the first place, this is actually against the Constitution on the face of it. Secondly, the purpose of domesticating international agreements is exactly to make sure that they do not conflict with our Constitution. Otherwise, it would have been very easy--- I know of one country which has adopted all the international agreements expressingly. That means that once a country has ratified an international agreement, automatically it becomes part of their domestic laws. In this country, we have not done so. Therefore, every international agreement ratified by this country must be brought to this Parliament for domestication. Thirdly, even under the Vienna Convention, the President has diplomatic immunity. If we include this amendment, it will go against the Vienna Convention. Fourthly, we December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4077 have many busybodies in this country. If we allow this, the President will have no time to perform his official duties. He will be sued right, left and centre.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman.
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir. I wish to seek the indulgence of the Chair to make it clear whether the Constitution of Kenya allows civil proceedings against the President. That is because a petition, like an election petition, I thought is a civil proceeding and it does happen in this country.
First of all, we are talking about criminal law here. What we have stated in criminal law holds. You have brought in this element of civil and I think my learned friend did equate Subsection 2 which deals with civil proceedings.
I was referring to hon. Githae's assertion just to set the record straight.
This is a Committee Stage and are opposed to this. Call the Vote if need be.
4078 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008
Mr. Attorney-General we have two Bills; so, we shall come to that other stage after the second Bill, which is the Accountants Bill.
Hon. Members, we are now on the Accountants Bill. THE ACCOUNTANTS BILL
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:-
THAT, Clause 3 be amended in Subclause (2)-
(a) in paragraph (c) by deleting the words "with the prior approval of the Minister" immediately after the word "may";
(b) in paragraph (e) by deleting the words "subject to approval by the Minister for the time being responsible for finance" immediately after the words "in other enterprises."
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, the purpose of this amendment is that it seeks to remove the words "with the approval of the Minister", basically because under Clause 9(4) of the Bill, the Minister has powers, together with the council of the Institute, to issue by-laws, regulations and guidelines to govern matters affecting operations of the Institute. So, under Clause 3(1)(b) he is seeking to exercise power on an operational issue rather than to exercise his power through general guidelines. In other words, we do not want the Minister to micro-manage the Institute. He would rather he does so by general guidelines and regulations.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, this Bill, which is now before the House, was cheperoned by professional institutions like the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (CPA), the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (KASNEB), and the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya (CPS) who have not sought any amendment whatsoever. This is how they want their institutions regulated. The Minister is to come in because there is that wider interest beyond these institution. The institutions have assets owned by the public, and some of the assets must be safeguarded. That is why before the final decision is made, there has to be consultation with the Minister. It is for that reason that these professional institutions find these provisions suitable to their way of working, and I oppose the amendment.
Mr. Minister, I want to mention that it is the right of the hon. Member to propose an amendment irrespective of the professional will of the Institute.
Mr. Githae! December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4079
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, this is a negotiated Bill by all the stakeholders involved in the accountancy profession. That includes KASNEB, ICPS and also the ICPA, and they have not sought any amendment. In fact, they will be surprised that somebody is seeking an amendment. They have not sought any amendment and this is what they agreed upon.
This is what I could call a national accord reached, not in Serena, but among the three bodies. We have a practice here that where there is a national accord, we do not interfere with it because it is a negotiated agreement. This is one of them. All they are saying is that the Minister is given power to make certain regulations in consultation with them. For that reason, let us not give what is not desired. This amendment is not trying to improve. If it was trying to improve, I would support it, but here the patient is saying that he is okay with the medicine given. So, why do we want to give more medicine than the patient requires?
I oppose the amendment.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, listening to the Minister and the Assistant Minister, you will note that they have not touched on the serious effects of the proposed amendment. What would be the serious effect? The question of the people who were consulted having not raised any concerns on the need for amendment should not arise in the House. This is because the reason why we are in the Committee of the whole House is for us to look at where there is need for an amendment. If there is need for none, we do not amend the clause. However, if any Member feels that there is need to amend a clause, we should not have an excuse that those who were consulted did not see any problem with it.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, listening to the Member, personally, I feel the amendment proposed is to ensure that the Minister does not micro-manage to provide some bottlenecks to some very simple work. I want to be convinced by the Minister on the effects of the proposed amendment.
Mr. Minister, the Member has a valid point. He needs to be convinced.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I avoided going wider into these issues. In all seriousness, right now, the whole world is in financial turmoil. Now, we have what we refer to as Global Financial Crisis. The reason we have this is because there were people like Mr. Koech who were saying, "we do not want any regulation. We do not want any surveillance. We do not want authorities to do this." In fact, as a result, my estimate is that US$2 trillion have been put into the financial world and the stock exchanges all over the world, but the problem still persist. If there were controls, and this is the issue now--- Internationally, it is agreed that on necessity, whether it is Americans who are politically powerful or even blocs such as European Union (EU), there will be international control in issues concerning assets of other people when they are in the hands of other managers.
Therefore, I am trying to say that it is because of this so highly liberalised way of taking care of other people that has caused such expensive fiascos which cannot go and whose heat has not reached us as yet. I still would like to request the proposer of this amendment, in the wider interest, which is public interest, that this amendment is not allowed to pass.
4080 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:-
THAT, Clause 13 of the Bill be amended by deleting Subclause (1) and substituting therefor the following-
(1) There shall be a Committee of the Council to be known as the Registration Committee consisting of seven members appointed by the Council.
The purpose of moving this amendment is that under the current Bill, the Minister seeks to establish what is called the Registration and Quality Assurance Committee. It has seven members who are appointed by the Minister as listed. Among the powers conferred on this body is, under clause 2(a); to receive, consider and approve application for registration as an accountant to grant practising certificate, annual licences and so on.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, the relationship of the committee with the Council of the Institute is not stated.
In Clause 11, the Council of the Institute is set out and in Clause 8, its functions also set out. Its functions include to promote standards of professional competence and practice among the members of the Institute and so on. Looking at the functions of the Council of the Institute, they are also being shared with those of the Registration Committee. When there is no relationship that has been set up between the two, it means that the Registration Committee will usurp the power of the Council. The Council will be left without any interest in the profession.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, this is very important because if you want profession of the accountants to self-regulate, you must also not emasculate its main body, which is ICPAK. The parallel for this is the Law Society of Kenya and so on. I have also looked at the registration elsewhere and it is actually the case, for instance, the Indian Chartered Accountants Act of India (1949). This is the equivalent of our ICPAK. It elects a sub-committee of the registration committee. But, here, the Minister has sought to separate them completely and not create any relationship. Therefore, the proposed amendment is seeking to make this registration committee a sub-committee of the Council to ensure that they work in harmony and they do not compete. I therefore, urge hon. Members to allow this amendment.
Mr. Baiya, just for clarification, you are saying that the entire clause including the parts (a), (b) and (c) be replaced with what you are proposing?
Yes, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir. That is exactly what I am proposing. We should delete Clause 13 as a whole, including the persons to be nominated and appointed.
So you propose to delete Clause 13(1) and not the whole clause?
Yes, that is correct. I am proposing to delete Clause 13(1). It includes those persons who will be nominated and appointed under Section 11. The persons who are going to do all those appointments have similar powers to appoint in the Council.
You have made your point, hon. Baiya! I just wanted to be very clear.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, this amendment must be opposed because it is based on the wrong premises. December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4081 The Council is there to set the policy, co-ordinate international practices all over the world and even refer to documents which the hon. Member is making reference to. It is there to make policy. It is also there to set the qualifications. It could say: "All those who want to be accountants in Kenya, they should have this or that qualification". That is the Council making and laying down the basis under which accountants will be registered. Those policy guidelines are then embraced by the registration committee. The registration committee ensures that whoever practises in Kenya as an accountant complies with the standards set up by the Council.
So, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, those are two different institutions with different mandates and yet, they perform very important functions in terms of regulating and registering the accountants in Kenya. Now, the proposal by the hon. Member is to lump those two bodies together. The Council, the policy and the executors of that policy cannot be put in the same kind of category because they have different functions. It is the checks and balances that are required here by separating the functions in the way it is done in this Bill.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, those who are practitioners have supported this Bill. That is why they have not lobbied anybody or even raised any issue with the Ministry that is sponsoring this Bill. That is not to say, like hon. Koech was saying, that you cannot raise these matters here. You are free to do so! But I think we must do so and also reflect and respect the views of the people who are going to actually either benefit or suffer from the laws that we pass here.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir. I beg to oppose the amendment.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I just want to convince the hon. Member to re-look at this amendment because right now, in the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), for example, the functions of the Registrar of the High Court is to merely register lawyers. Then, we all join the LSK, which sets the standards of practice and whatever. But those are two separate bodies, just like it is already in the Act. By bringing this amendment, it is like bringing the Registrar of the High Court and the LSK together. This is not a good practice!
Secondly, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, in the Ministry of Medical Services right now, we are having a problem because the Registrar of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, according to the current Act which we want to amend, is also the Secretary of the Board. So, we have both offices coming together, which is what will happen if we pass this amendment. So, I was going to persuade the hon. Member, in keeping with good international practice, to just withdraw this amendment or leave it, because the Act, as it is, is good for purposes of good legislation and in keeping with international standards.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to oppose the amendment.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I just want to add some voice to what the Minister has said. First of all, as an accountant and somebody who has been involved in the drafting of this legislation since 1994, I just wish to clarify to hon. Baiya that, indeed, the current Act, the Accountants Act, has separated those functions with the registration processes being done by the Registrations of Accountants Board, which is very distinct from the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK). It is also very distinct from the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (KASNEB). By putting them together, as proposed in his amendment, it will actually negate the independence that is being sought at the point of an accountant who has passed his examinations, who would determine who is registerable as an accountant, if it is your own colleagues? So, by creating a separate registration committee which, actually, has people outside the core institute, you will actually not find anyone being told: "We cannot register you because we do not like your face or because there are so many accountants now, we must put a cap!" So, that is the spirit in which this amendment came in, and I would urge him -
4082 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 and I think I have already explained to him in detail - to actually withdraw that amendment so that we do not even need to vote on it. It was done in the best interests of protecting future accountants who might otherwise be barred by those who are already in, from getting in, if this amendment was to go through.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir.
Order, hon. Members! I think those are sufficient contributions. Let me just proceed to put the question!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move that the Committee doth report to the House its consideration of The International Crimes Bill and its approval thereof with amendments.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move that the Committee doth report to the House its consideration December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4083 of The Accountants Bill and its approval thereof without amendments.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to report that a Committee of the whole House has considered The International Crimes Bill and approved the same with amendments.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Report.
(Mr. Mungatana) seconded.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that The International Crimes Bill be now read the Third Time.
If I may just make one comment on this, I am particularly moved that at long last we are domesticating the Rome Statute, which estbalishes the International Criminal Court (ICC). I recollect that about 28 years ago, in 1980, in a town outside The Hague, I, together with some other people called for the establishment of the ICC, but we never thought it would become a reality in our day. But it has become a reality and today Kenya is joining others in domesticating the Rome Statute, which we have already ratified.
I just wish to remind people that the Rome Statute places primary responsibility on the nation states to investigate and prosecute the crimes which are enshrined therein. It does not place primary responsibility on the ICC. The resposnibility is on the nation state to investigate and prosecute those crimes. It is only where the nation state is either unwilling or unable to genuinely investigate and prosecute crimes that the ICC may come in.
With those few remarks, I beg to move.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish to second this Bill and also take this opportunity to thank the Attorney-General and his staff for bringing this Bill to this House. I also thank the Departmental Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs, led by Mr. Abdikadir, for thoroughly scrutinizing this Bill and coming up with amendments which have improved it.
Secondly, now that the Attorney-General is in the mood of domesticating---
4084 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is it in order for Mr. Githae to second the Attorney-General when he has moved the Third Reading without you proposing the Question?
Mr. Githae, are you satisfied?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am not satisfied and I am just finishing. I am saying that now that the Attorney-General is in the mood of domesticating international agreements, we have so many of them that we have not domesticated in this country, which Kenya has ratified. I would like to ask him to bring them to this House so that we can domesticate them.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to agree with Mr. Ethuro that this is the right time to make a contribution. I also just want to agree with the Attorney-General that this is a milestone in our country. However, most importantly - very briefly - is that even in domesticating the Rome Statute we have been careful to remain within the confines of our Constitution. I was worried for a while that we were going to subject the Head of State of this country to prosecution. It is very good that this Parliament today has seen the wisdom of making sure that we do not introduce conflict with the Constitution; so, the President, while executing functions of his Office, will remain immune from prosecution. This is something we should maintain. At any rate, the way this country is going, it is unlikely that we will get a Head of State who will dare to commit crimes against humanity in this country.
With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, hon. Mungatana beat me to the microphone. I am sure that this House will need to enforce the rules where you need to catch the eye of the Chair, rather than your capacity and ability to grab the microphone.
Having considered that, I also want to associate myself, indeed, with the sentiments expressed by hon. Githae; that we are hoping that this process of domesticating international statutes can be fast-tracked by the Attorney-General. Indeed, I am aware of many of the international protocols and statutes that have been consented to by the Government, that have not seen the Floor of this House. That is not the proper way to do it. I want to believe the business of knee-jack reaction--- Maybe the greatest motivation of The International Crimes Bill to even see the walls of this House, is a consideration of what we have gone through in terms of the Waki Report. We want to believe that the Attorney-General is persuaded sufficiently enough and, as he correctly saw 28 years ago, in a city near the Hague - I do not know whether it is Amsterdam or which city - he was one of those people asking for the International Crimes Court. All the protocols and any other international protocols that the Government of Kenya has committed itself to should be domesticated.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to agree that we have upheld our constitutional obligations as a House. The Ministers of Government should never worry that Parliament shall be committed to the sovereignty of the Constitution and institutions that have been established by the Constitution. That is the only way to pride ourselves as a nation that respects its institutions, and we will follow the appropriate way of reforming them, if need be.
December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4085
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to report that a Committee of the whole House has considered The Accountants Bill and approved the same without amendments.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Report.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that The Accountants Bill be now read the Third Time.
(Mr. Wako) seconded.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I just want to thank the Minister for having successfully brought The Accountants Bill to fruition. In this case, our thanks go to the former Minister, hon. Kimunya, who was really instrumental in bringing this Bill to this House. He is an Accountant himself. In fact, just before this debate, I had talked to the prominent accountants in this House, including hon. Jamleck Kamau, hon. Jakoyo Midiwo, hon. Amos Kimunya and hon. George Thuo. They have really agreed that this is also a milestone in the history of this country. The accountants now for the first time will regulate their own affairs, just like the lawyers with their Law Society of Kenya (LSK).
I would like to take this opportunity and request the other Ministers also to bring Bills to Parliament so that other professions can also regulate their affairs. This is the way to go. We must give other bodies the legal ability to regulate their affairs for the good of this country.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also wish to thank the Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources, for the able manner in which he defended this particular Bill this afternoon. I think we appreciate when Ministers not only know, but actually demonstrate their knowledge. I think the House was convinced beyond any shadow of doubt why we should separate the regulation Committee, as proposed by the Minister, from the Council of Ministers and also the support that Assistant Ministers, hon. Mungatana and hon. Githae gave in terms of recollecting what happens in the LSK and the Ministry of Medical Services.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I remember, when I was supporting this particular Bill, I raised the issue of accountants at the district level, not obeying the professional standards. I am hoping, now that this Bill has come, that the Council will regulate all accountants, including those in the Public Service. The accountants in the private sector should not be any different from those in the Public Service.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, most of the mega scandals in this country have happened under the eyes of accountants. Could they now use this power to regulate, especially in the public sector, so that they
4086 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 enforce standards? Never again, must we lose money through scandals of any nature in this country. They must come up, enforce those standards and return the profession to where it belongs; to the high lofty standards.
I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first, I would like to thank the House for giving this Christmas present to the accountants and the accounting fraternity. It is a process that began in the 1994 to review this Act. I think that 14 years is not a short time to wait for this to come in. It is a good thing that the journey has come to its fruition.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, while I am at it, I would just like to correct the impression that may be created; that scandals and frauds in this country are caused by accountants or under their watch.
Indeed, it is people who do not listen to accountants who are responsible for creating frauds and those kind of things in this country. That is why in all these scandals, you will not see any registered accountant who has been taken to court on any of the scandals that have rocked this country. That is because accountants are professional. The people who do not listen to the advice of accountants are the ones who cause these scandals.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move:-
THAT, this House adopts the Report of the Departmental Committee on Education, Research and Technology on the Inquiry into Students' Unrest and Strikes in Secondary Schools, laid on the Table of the House on Thursday, 23rd October, 2008.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as you are aware, on Tuesday, 22nd July, 2008, the Chair directed my Committee to open an inquiry in the students' unrest and strikes following the Ministerial Statement on the matter, issued by the Minister for Education on the same date. Subsequent to this Communication from the Chair, my Committee deliberated on its mandate as provided for in Standing Order No.151, on the terms of reference and mode of operation at its sittings, on Wednesday, 23rd July, 2008.
After deliberations on the subject matter under investigation, my Committee resolved to visit the affected schools in each province of the Republic of Kenya. My Committee also held public hearings in each of these provinces. We were able to collate views from major education stakeholders from those areas. So, we looked at the possible root causes of the unrest and strikes, and we made findings and recommendations.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on Tuesday, 29th July, 2008, the Committee commenced its work. We had a total of 33 sittings, most of which were public hearings in the affected schools. The last province we were able to visit was the North Eastern Province, where there was no strike reported at all. The Committee received both oral and written views. To ensure December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4087 that all sections of stakeholders were provided with ample opportunity to make their submissions, the Committee had evidence from representatives of students.
We also received evidence from the representatives of teachers, school workers, school principals, Boards of Governors (BOGs), Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs), sponsors, teachers' unions, Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association, the Kenya National Association of Parents, Private School Owners Association, University lecturers and students, the civil society and Members of Parliament. At this juncture, I sincerely wish to than the hon. Members who were able to find time to share their views with the Committee.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, from the findings, a total of 290 secondary schools had gone on strike as at the beginning of September, 2008. About 50 per cent of these strikes were violent and destructive. For example, in Upper Hill High School, one student - the Deputy Headboy - lost his life when a dormitory was set on fire. It should go on record that this student actually died struggling to save the lives of his colleagues.
In another violent school strike at Mbugithi Secondary School, Thika District, the students set school property on fire, which included a dormitory, an administration block, four classrooms, a computer room and a home science laboratory, all valued at over Kshs13 million. That is only one school, which went almost down to zero.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, another very disheartening incident happened at Kabarnet High School, in Rift Valley Province, where a dormitory which was housing over 600 students was set on fire at exactly 1.00 a.m., when all the students were asleep. This was very painful. At that time, all students in the dormitory were fast asleep. Thank God, the arsonists were said to have set on fire four corners of the building, but only one corner caught fire. Therefore, the students got a way of escaping. Thank God, no student was hurt. The property that was destroyed in this school was worth over Kshs18 million.
I wish to point out that unlike in the past, the 2008 school strikes affected even some private schools. The Committee heard evidence from the various stakeholders. This revealed varied reasons that contributed to the wave of unrest. I wish to say that Kenyans turned up in large numbers to give their views. That was evident that Kenyans want a solution to the problems affecting our schools.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the mock examinations-related reasons and claims of rampant Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) leakages and irregularities only helped to worsen the problem. A widely held claim that the KNEC uses mock examination results to validate Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results and rampant leakages in national examinations have damaged the credibility of the KNEC to the extent that students resisted sitting for mock examinations in the second term of this year with the belief that in so doing, the results would not be forwarded to the KNEC.
The other major general observations made by the Committee on the possible contributors to the students' unrest and strikes, include the following: Poor management of schools, overloaded curriculum, low morale amongst teachers, peer pressure, drug and substance abuse, indiscipline and rampant expulsion of students, impact of post-election violence and moral decay in society. The other factors include poor parenting; external influence in the running of schools; ineffective supervision of schools; misuse of mobile phones; ineffective guidance and counselling; less disbursement of Free Secondary Education Funds; poor prefecture systems in our institutions; poor communication standards; overcrowded and poor boarding facilities in schools; ineffective BoGs and sponsors; stiff competition due to ranking of schools; media reporting and showing of violent movies and plays on television; influence of militia groups; publicity on children rights (The Children's Act) and reforms.
The Committee has presented detailed and specific root causes of the unrest and recommendations in Chapter IV of the Report - I have not mentioned everything at this stage. Let
4088 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 me highlight some of the issues in order to introduce the debate on the subject matter in this Report.
First, on the Mock examinations, the fear that the mock results would be substituted for KCSE results whenever leakages and massive cheating in KCSE papers take place dominated the hearing. It was not the fear that the Mock examinations were hard. Even as we went round getting views, there was no convincing reason to explain the purposes of Mock results collected from schools by the KNEC other than what the students and public perceive. In view of this, the Committee recommends that Mock results should never be collected or used as a comparative measure for the national examinations. The Committee also recommends that the provincial and district mocks be banned completely. This ban must be enforced.
With regard to post-election violence, the Committee heard that some students in our schools, if not all, witnessed the burning, killing and destruction of property during the post-election violence. Some were even mentioned to have participated in the demonstrations and in some of these acts. Some of the students, therefore, imitated and directed the violence towards their schools after what they did out there. It also emerged that some Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) students were not properly assisted to fully recover from the ensuing psychological trauma and found it hard to adjust when admitted to schools in the said areas. It was unfortunate to note that some of these students took the lead in the burning of the schools where they were taken to. Much of the reason was that they felt unsafe in school. They wanted to be at home.
The Committee, therefore, urges adults to embrace dialogue in solving disputes and grievances. As a country, we do not wish to see what happened in January and February, 2008, again. This is because it goes down to our children who are students in schools. It is, therefore, necessary to resolve our disputes and grievances in order to prevent copy cat actions by students. All the IDP students and all students in Kenya should undergo counselling to recover fully from the trauma that they still bear as a result of that.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to examination leakages and irregularities, the students, teachers, and parents, as I mentioned earlier, have lost confidence in the KNEC due to the persistent examination leakages and irregularities. This was said to be the main cause of stress and anxiety amongst students. Special mention was made about the widespread 2007 KCSE leakage and irregularities, including awarding of double results for an estimated 40,000 candidates.
In order to restore integrity and professionalism in this institution, the Committee recommends that the KNEC be overhauled to pave way for a new team. The KNEC Act also needs to be reviewed to give stiffer penalties and allow for deregistration for indisciplined candidates. To control examination leakages, the Committee further recommends that examination developers be vetted well and that the calender of the KNEC be reviewed to allow candidates to sit for the national examinations outside the term dates and supervisors be also paid for the services they provide.
As opposed to what happens in primary schools, when students are sitting for KCPE all the rest of them are sent home. However, in our secondary schools, the examinations are done when all the students are in session. That brings in the complication of control of the leakages. That is why we propose that this be done outside the term dates. It is crucial to note that those who supervise examinations need to be motivated. At the moment, the invigilators are only given transport to the schools and lunch and nothing on top of that. It is important that they get something small to make them feel motivated to do that very important job. That will ensure that there is no leakage in our examinations. We have mentioned that there is need to impose stiffer penalties on those who cheat or purport to be carrying examination papers.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with regard to ranking of schools, the Committee noted that this exerted intense pressure on our students to excel regardless of their capabilities. Consequently, students are exposed to too much schooling from January to December, seven days a week without a break, including forced holiday tuition. Strikes were seen as a way of breaking off December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4089 from the "prison" as the students termed their schools in that way.
The Committee, therefore, recommends that ranking of schools in national examinations be abolished with immediate effect and ranking of individual candidates based on the categories be encouraged. The Committee further recommends that holiday tuition be banned and this order be fully enforced.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will now talk about abuse of drugs and other substances. Drug abuse by students causes a very serious threat to stability and peace in our schools. The burning of dormitories while students are asleep provided evidence that some students may have been seriously under the influence of drugs when they performed this act. We must, as a country and as Parliament, address the issue of abuse of drugs in and outside our institutions. What came up clearly were the loopholes. During our time in school, there was an order that "persons under 18 are not allowed in some places". Today, in this country, all places are free for parents and children, including babies. You will find them in pubs, even up to midnight. We must change this.
To address this problem, we propose that the Ministry of Education should work closely with NACADA to make schools drug-free zones. That is very important. Schools should lay down strategies to initiate counselling programmes for drug addicts while working in collaboration with the security agencies to monitor and identify drugs.
With regard to school administration and management, the Committee found out that while the majority of principals are doing very well, some are incompetent, but they still continue holding onto their jobs due to, in most cases, external or political influence.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, most of the unrest this year was a way in which our students were also attempting to eject the so-called ethnically incorrect principals from their stations. So, to address this, the Committee proposes that the head-teachers should undergo a mandatory management training at Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE). At the moment, they are only undergoing a training of two weeks and we are saying that they need to have up to one month serious training so that our principals are well equipped with the skills on how to deal with the many emerging issues in education. The appointment of principals should be on merit and only competent principals should be kept so that we are able to control and contain our schools.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is also need to spell out very clearly the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) policy on the selection and appointment of heads of post-primary institutions. It was observed from the evidence, that principals are also overworked due to multiple tasks at school and they lack motivation, since at the moment, the policy on principalship is on deployment. Teachers are removed from the classroom and deployed to become deputies. Some become heads directly without anything reflecting the same on the pay-slip. This is an added responsibility. Therefore, the Committee recommends that instead of deploying, they need to appoint, especially having gone through the serious rigorous training of principals, so that they are paid for the extra work that they do in the form of responsibility allowances.
There was also evidence that some deputies and teachers also were inciting students to chase away the principals in order for them to take over the leadership of the schools. To curb this, the Committee urges the TSC and the Ministry of Education to develop a clear policy on succession in schools, so that a deputy or a teacher in a particular school does not start eyeing that direct office of the principal of the same school.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Committee noted that some Boards of Governors (BOGs) and Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs) are ineffective in their work and have concentrated more on the financial matters in our institutions at the expense of the welfare of the students and their academic performance. To ensure effective and efficient management of schools, the Committee recommends that BOGs be strictly constituted based on academic qualifications, competence and commitment and that the members of the BOGs be inducted on school
4090 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 management and administration and be empowered to deal with cases of indiscipline.
Parental guidance also plays a crucial role. Some parents have left their children to the teachers. Some children are taken to boarding schools even at the Early Childhood Development (ECD) level which is a very tender age. Some parents have also over-provided their students with excess pocket money while some students are also exposed to domestic violence at homes. The Committee calls upon the parents to take up their responsibilities in guiding and counselling their children during childhood. The schools also should regulate students pocket monies which must be deposited with the school administration.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on boarding primary schools, we as a Committee recommend that we need to discourage the boarding primary schools for children below 11 years of age. That, therefore, means that we propose that in our country we only allow boarding schools starting from age 11 or at Standard Five so that at the tender age, our children are with their parents. That will mould the child to develop very important skills in their lives.
In our country today, under-staffing continues to persist in schools with serious implications on the implementation of the curriculum. Students are not adequately prepared and this triggers unrest especially when such teachers are transferred without replacements. Most of the schools strike because a teacher is transferred and the students do not anticipate a replacement which is a serious issue.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Government should move fast to provide adequate budgetary allocation for the TSC and the Ministry, to recruit and deploy more teachers if we want to really see lasting peace in our institutions.
Teachers' morale was found to be very low. They are still poorly paid compared to other civil servants and that is already in the public domain. I want to thank the Minister and the entire Ministry for embracing dialogue so that an amicable solution is found. We want, as a Committee, to encourage this dialogue and discussions that they become fruitful so that we have a motivated teacher working with our students.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, some teachers do not conform to the professional ethics and norms. This has left students with no option but to reject them through strikes. This could be avoided if the code of regulations governing the conduct of teachers is strictly adhered to in ensuring that teachers conform to the professional ethics. There appears to be a widely held view that non-performing teachers who have overstayed in schools incite students against new administrations to ensure "business as usual". The Committee recommends to the TSC to adopt a system of reshuffling teachers every five years, particularly if the performance of such teachers warrants such action.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on curriculum, we found that the curriculums do not give room to students for remedial work. It is important that the Ministry ensures that we have a curriculum which can be fully accommodated and allow for some remedial work. Some part of the curriculum has been condensed so much so that you think it is a small area, but it is a very big area. An example is Kiswahili and English where English and English Literature have been lumped together to be called one subject. Kiswahili and Fasihi are one subject. It is high time that we separated the two like it used to be so that a student who wants to do Fasihi can pursue that. A student who wants to do Literature alone or a student who does not want to do Literature can only do English.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Committee further calls for the introduction of Continuous Assessment Tests (CATs) to form a percentage, preferably 30 per cent in the national exam. We need national examinations at the end of Form Two formally referred to as Kenya Junior Secondary Education (KJSE) to be reintroduced. It is not fair that our students are in schools for four years and they are tested on everything within one month and that determines their future. It is December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4091 important that we give them some stop-gap so that at least they do not over-concentrate in four years. I say this because at the university level, our students study for three months and immediately after that they sit for exams on the same. Our students in secondary schools are subjected to one exam after four years.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it was also further observed that some books recommended by the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) for use in schools have also incited the students, and I quote: Mayai Waziri wa Maradhi na Hadithi Zingine . This book has a section which shows students burning schools and this is a book that is being taught in our schools. Our Committee therefore recommends that all school books be fully screened against undesirable learning materials.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, mobile phones were quoted and, to a large extent, they were used by students to report to each other on what they were doing in their respective schools. Some of the messages were inciting students of other schools to go on strike. Those messages were from students who had not even gone on strike. So, mobile phones played a role in passing messages which were not very good. The Ministry of Education policies require some change. For example, the policy of 85 per cent intake. It is high time that we integrated Kenyans. That system has made some schools to have children from one community. Therefore, they end up dictating who should become the principal and the board chairman. They have localised nearly everything. It is the view of my Committee that this policy should be abolished and students be admitted to schools of their choice in order to promote national integration.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministerial Statements also confuse the principals and management of our schools. That is because circulars and statements are issued without clear understanding. It is the view of this Committee that the Ministry should clearly spell out all the policy statements in manuals or circulars to ease the implementation and avoid ambiguities. This year, as a country, we introduced free secondary education. The delay in the disbursement of the same funds also played a key role in the unrest in the second term. We understand that, that was the beginning of a wonderful move by the Government to give free education to our Kenyan population. Our appeal to the Ministry is that, come next year, those funds should be disbursed on time to remove the problems that most schools underwent.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the prefect system as I mentioned earlier, has its problems. To some extent, our prefects have been referred to by the students as "the eyes and the ears" of the principals and the management. It is necessary, through the reforms that are going on, that students are involved in the selection of prefects, so that they could feel that prefects are their representatives.
The school workers are also a very important entity. We discovered in our rounds that our school workers have been forgotten by the management of our schools. The delayed disbursement of funds part of which was to pay some of the workers, delayed the payment of salaries to workers. By the time we were going out there, some workers in some schools had not received salaries for up to six months. That was enough evidence to tell us that they were the most demotivated teams in our schools. To some degree, they played a role in the strikes in our schools. They are the conduits of drugs. They incited the students that the management of our schools were not performing well. So, in order to ensure that our school workers are part and parcel of the school, we recommend that one, they must undergo serious training in their fields. They must also be able to work closely with the administration. Lastly, we recommend that, as part of ensuring that they get their salaries on time, the money that the Ministry is releasing be increased so that those workers can be paid directly by the Government.
Of course, the communication channel in our schools is wanting. We noted that some of the students who talk during public barazas end up being the victims of circumstances in cases of unrest
4092 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 and strikes in our schools. So, we suggest the establishment of "school parliaments" in all our schools or the so-called barazas where students and the administration can be able to interact freely, and that suggestion boxes be effectively used.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on boarding schools, the boarding schools that we have today, compared to our time in school--- During our time, school life was better than home life. Reason being that we did not have permanent buildings at home. Maybe, we did not have very good toilets. We did not have electricity. So, when we went to school, it was a wonderful life. To the majority of the students today in Kenya, their home life seems to be better than the school life. It is important, therefore--- Some of the students have their own bedrooms. Some of them even have toilets inside their rooms at home. Your are telling that child to go to school to live in a dormitory. We recommend as a Committee that the boarding schools that we have must improve their facilities. As we try to open new boarding schools, we must ensure that the facilities are adequate and conform to the standards. During admissions, students should be allowed, together with their parents, to go round and look at the facilities of our schools, before they are admitted. Otherwise, we encourage day schools so that our students who come from well-off families can commute.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as I mentioned, the Children Act also plays some role. That is because we have advocates who propagate children rights and, as a result, our schools get confused. Because of the interpretation of the same, some parents have played some role of inciting the students against the administration. The number of indisciplined students is growing. Looking at what happened out there, it is high time that we admit and accept that, at the moment, we have criminals in our schools. Criminals cannot be kept in schools. They should be kept out of schools. It is on this note that we recommend, as a Committee, the creation of rehabilitation centres - the former approved schools, so that those very hard core students who cannot change can be admitted in those schools. Guidance and counselling is very important and crucial. The Ministry should seriously take it upon itself to do that.
With regard to school inspections, we found out that quality assurance and standards officers are very few in this country. The Ministry should ensure that we have enough inspectors to ensure that work is actually going on in our schools.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is a very serious sense of hopelessness among the students in our schools today. Reason being that we have focused so much on university entry. With the 8-4-4, we are talking of over 80,000 students qualifying to go to the universities, and then we only admit 10,000 students. The remaining 70,000 feel frustrated and, by extension, those who are even in school also feel frustrated because they cannot see how to make ends meet. So, we recommend also that the taking over of middle level colleges by universities be stopped, so that the universities could grow on their own. Therefore, those students who do not make it to the university are able to go to those institutions.
We also recommend that the media should play its role very responsibly. Some of the incidences occurred as a result of students watching reports of other strikes on the television daily. I think it was not necessary to keep on showing the students what had happened. I think caution should be exercised. We also have problems with some of the TV programmes. It was quoted very well that Tahidi High, which is a programme on TV, portrays a school scenario where there is a lot of indiscipline and students rebelling against the administration. Therefore, we do recommend that this programme be stopped from being aired.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, peer pressure also played a key role. It was observed that some students were burning their schools because others had already done so. Due to the serious nature of the impact of peer pressure on the youths, the Committee calls upon the parents, teachers, religious groups and school adminstrations to be fully involved in providing proper guidance to the youth December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4093
Poverty also plays a key role. There are few students in our schools who are able to influence others through giving them money and, by extension, they end up performing bad acts. Financial mismanagement in our schools is an issue. So, as a Committee, we propose that prudent financial management skills should be embraced by all schools. Our sponsors need to play their roles well.
The Education Act needs to be reviewed to address the many emerging issues in the education sector, including spelling out clear roles of the various stakeholders, in particular those of the sponsors. We propose that the sponsors play their role by ensuring that all our schools have Chaplains.
The out-lawed groups are also a threat to our schools, because it was reported that they infiltrate our schools and the students who join those militia groups become hardened and sometimes very difficult to discipline.
Regarding the school rules, we also discovered that, apart from one or two guidelines from the Ministry, each school seems to be developing its own rules, and as a result, students sometimes feel cheated by their various schools, especially when they interact with students from other schools. We propose that the Ministry develops general guidelines on rules that should be followed by all the schools. There are many emerging issues. We have captured all those in the Report.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on behalf of the Committee I sincerely thank the offices of the Speaker and the Clerk of the National Assembly for the necessary support and services extended to the Members to enable the Committee execute its work. I also thank the Ministry of Education for mobilizing all the stakeholders through the Provincial Directors of Education. As the Chairman, I must also thank the Members of the Committee. They worked tirelessly day and night. In one case, we sat up to midnight. I further thank the staff of the National Assembly for their valued expertise; without their dedication, the work of my Committee would not have been possible.
On behalf of the Committee, I now have the honour and pleasure to present this Report and recommendations to the House for debate. I am looking forward to the support of the hon. Members and adoption of the report.
With those remarks, I beg to move and ask Mr. Ruteere to second.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish to second the Motion for the adoption of the Report as has been moved very ably by the Chairman. From the outset, I would like to say that the Report is very comprehensive; it touches on all the issues that affect our students in our schools or institutions, what causes unrest and what might cause future unrest. If this situation is arrested on time, we may not witness the kind of unrest that we witnessed earlier this year.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Report is very comprehensive. It touches on all the issues that affect students in our schools and institutions, what causes unrest and what might cause future unrest. If arrested on time, we may not witness the kind of unrest that we witnessed during the second term of this year. The wave was so much in the entire country. It was so destructive and to date, some of the schools have not recovered from that destruction.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the analysis of the problems and what caused them, has been very fairly given. The Committee did a wonderful work. They criss-crossed the country, spoke to various stakeholders in various provinces, parents and students. They came up with the recommendations that have been presented to you.
As a former headteacher, I want to say that the issues that have been raised concerning conflicting statements and reports emanating from the Ministry of Education, for example, some saying that there will be an increase in school fees. Others say there will be no increase in school fees. When the reality dawns on the principals and Boards, increases are made. The students have
4094 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES December 11, 2008 read and seen on television that there would be no increase of school fees, yet it comes. The obvious reaction, especially from the very poor, is that they are being denied the opportunity for education because they do not have the fees. So, to prove their point, they go on strike.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, burning of houses and property after the post-election violence sent very bad signals to our children; that they can only vent their anger by burning and destroying property. So when the students got annoyed by the action of the school administration, the obvious thing was that they had to burn the houses. That is when they could be listened to. That is when mediation would come. That is when reconciliation could come. That is when the principal could listen to them. Therefore, the way we, as society, behave has a big impact, negative or positive, to our students. It is time we reflected on our own actions. We should know very well that what we do today, will be done tomorrow by our students. If it is positive, it will have a positive effect. If it is negative, it is going to have a negative effect. Our whole life depends on ourselves and the future of our children will also depend on our ourselves.
The students in secondary schools are at their adolescence age. Generally, it is accepted that when people are at that age, they feed a lot. They are very active and need a lot of food. That is when they are in schools which ration food and may not be giving enough. When they ask for permission to go out because they may be having money to buy bread, they are denied the permission. This causes a lot of problems in school. We should know how to handle these adolescents.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the school administration should be properly prepared. When I was appointed a headteacher, I underwent a lot of courses. These included in-service course, a programme for education management and administration, a programme for accounting. Although I did not become an accountant, I know a bit of basic book-keeping. When the school bursar brought to me what he had done, I was able to know what it was.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, drug and substance abuse in our schools need to be addressed properly. The officials of NACADA should be brought in, in every school. They should address all the students and where there is a problem, they should get experts to go and do counselling. There are schools that are prone to that vice, because the drug barons are targetting the youth. They have realized that their market is the youth. For that reason, they want the market to be there all the time. It is time the Ministry of Education took positive steps to assist the school administrations to get experts and allow NACADA to access every school. They should tell them what they are doing and talk to all the students. They should even go to the extent of talking to the parents. Some of the parents know that their children are drug addicts, but keep them in schools so that they can grow! Then, those ones are teaching others their ways of life.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have local brews and bars that are licenced around our institutions. It is time that those bars were banned and removed from around the school compounds! It is time to ensure that there are no local brews around our school compounds! It is time the Provincial Administration took an active role in seeing that the local brews within the schools are eliminated. Therefore, we should all put concerted efforts to see to it that liquor, which is a substance that is abused, is done away with from around the school compounds.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, when we come to the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), the story is very pathetic. That is because it sends disgruntled people to mark the examinations. Some may mark them fairly and others may not mark them fairly! We have already seen what is happening today - some markers have threatened to go out of their marking centres, especially the centres where this year's Kiswahili paper is being marked. What will happen to the students when they see that they have not got positive results in the Kiswahili papers that they did? Whether that is their marks or not, they will attribute it to those markers who are disgruntled. They will say: "This is not what we deserve! The markers were not satisfied!" During examination time, December 11, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4095 whether the markers are satisfied or not, their problems should not be made open. Their problems should be dealt with inhouse, because it reflects very badly. When the results come out, they will say: "I failed in Kiswahili. The KNEC had not paid the Kiswahili markers well. I will not accept those results! It is not the mistake---"
Otherwise, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, because I do not want to repeat next time, I second the adoption of this Report.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Hon. Ruteere, I hope you have finished making your contribute. Did you finish? You had an additional 20 minutes.
Hon. Members, it is now time to interrupt the business of the House. The House, therefore, stands adjourned until Tuesday, 16th December, 2008, at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 6.30 p.m.